Thursday, March 31, 2011 - Colloquium
Professor Philip Glenn, Department of Communication, Emerson College
"So What You're Saying Is . . .": Mediation and the Speaker-Listener Technique Revisited
Paraphrasing is one of the fundamental skills of active listening. Especially in conflict situations, the speaker-listener technique - restating in different words what another has said – is supposed to demonstrate understanding, give the other person a chance to reflect on what s/he is saying, and slow down the urge to argue back or shift focus away from that person’s concerns. Yet some say the speaker-listener technique is overrated or can be overused. How does paraphrasing really work? When should it be used? To get at these questions, we’ll review conversation analytic research on formulations. Similar to paraphrasing, formulating involves one speaker putting into words either the essence or the implication of what has been said. We’ll examine some real-life examples of a mediator using formulations to help disputing parties work through their differences. We’ll close with a consideration of the best circumstances and strategies for formulating - or paraphrasing – in order to promote effective communication.
About Professor Glenn
Phillip Glenn is Professor of Communication at Emerson College. His scholarly interests concern interaction, especially negotiation, mediation and conflict; employment interviews; and laughter in everyday talk. His book Laughter in Interaction (Cambridge University Press, 2003) received the Outstanding Scholarly Publication Award from the Language and Social Interaction Division of the National Communication Association. His courses at Emerson include Conflict and Negotiation, Negotiation and Group Process, Organizational Communication Theory, and The Laughing Body. He is a volunteer mediator and trainer with Metropolitan Mediation Services in Brookline. Prior to earning his doctorate at UT Austin in 1987, Phillip worked in arts management with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. For more information, visit Phil’s web page at [www.phillipglenn.info].